Posts Tagged 'Sports'

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That's a Horrible Call! On Sports Officials, Justice and Misplaced Hope


In 1996, I was obsessed with the Seattle Mariners. Ken Griffey, Jr. crushed 49 home runs that season, and 20-year-old Alex Rodriguez hit .358 to win the AL batting crown. But it was 12-year-old Jeffrey Maier who really shocked the baseball world that year.

In the ALCS, the hated Yankees were playing the Baltimore Orioles. This was before the resurgence of the Yankees had been established. Derek Jeter was only 22, and this series was promising to be a good one. Down one run late, Jeter came to the plate and drove one deep to opposite field, and...well, I’ll let Bob Costas tell you what happened:

Jeffrey Maier. 12-year-old Jeffrey Maier. He completely turned the game around and, ultimately, the series. The Yankees went on to win their first World Series in nearly 20 years, but the reach-over by Maier still haunts Orioles fans. The Yankees rewarded him with seats behind home plate.

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The Boycott Diaries: My Theology Is Only Weird if it Doesn't Work


Dear Diary,

I did not expect this. But I will take it.

My Dallas Cowboys are 5-1. When I started my boycott of the NFL after Week 1, they were 0-1. Now, five weeks into my boycott, the Cowboys are 5-1. Five weeks of boycotting, five Cowboys’ wins. Coincidence?

I think not!

Naturally, lots of people are asking me if I’m mad that I can’t watch the Cowboys’ success because of my boycott. But they don’t get it. The Cowboys are winning because of my boycott.

Yes, I believe that God is honoring my boycott by blessing the Cowboys with this impressive five-game winning streak, including Sunday’s win over the defending Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks. In Seattle.

Obviously, I’m kidding. Maybe. I wish I could say that I’m totally, 100 percent kidding, but that wouldn’t be true. I actually sorta kinda believe that the Cowboys are 5-0 in their last five games because I decided to boycott the NFL.

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Farewell, Captain: Derek Jeter and the Restoration of All Things


Derek Jeter is not the Messiah. I don’t think that. In fact, as a Twin fan, at times, I’ve been fully convinced that Jeter has masqueraded as an angel of light. So last night’s drama was no transfiguration of a unique baseball god.

Actually, it was the kind of moment that makes the Yankees the Yankees. After Jeter’s walk off single, Michael Kay (YES play-by-play announcer) said it best: “Did you have any doubt?” From Gehrig’s “luckiest man in the world" speech to Don Larsen’s perfect World Series game to the 2001 World Series, high drama is woven into the mystique (love it or hate it) of the Pinstripes.

But I cannot help myself, even as a Twins fan. I feel something profound and maybe eternal every time I watch Jeter’s hit. I have spent the morning thanking God for it and how it has freshly stirred me to hope.

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The Boycott Diaries: On the Allure of Football's Story


Dear Diary,

As you may know, I am boycotting the NFL.

This was not an easy decision to make. But as the story has developed, I am becoming more comfortable with this decision.

That doesn’t mean that it’s been easy to bury my head in the non-NFL sand. It was harder than I thought it would be to keep my mind off the games this past Sunday. I lost count of how many times I almost checked the SportsCenter app on my phone. My wife and I ate lunch at her mom’s house that day, and of course she has DirecTV (we’ve been TV-programming-free since LOST went off the air). There’s a universal rule that if it’s Sunday, men have to watch TV. So, instead of watching the afternoon NFL games — instead of watching the Cowboys win, of all things — I watched a little bit of Rory McIlroy giving away the lead at the Tour Championship. It was thrilling stuff.

By late afternoon I realized how much watching the NFL meant to me and how weird it was to be purposefully excluding myself from it. 

That night, I played an indoor soccer game with some neighbors and folks from our small group. (Yes, I play soccer and am currently boycotting the NFL. Sue me.) My neighbor is a Chiefs fan, so he had plenty of venting to do. I heard other tidbits about some of the other games, and then the fiancee of one of our players heard that I was boycotting the league, so that conversation lasted a good five minutes.

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Why the Church Should Boycott the NFL


Back in January, I wrote about the NFL, the Internet and masculinity. I opened the post with this:


The NFL acts as a slightly tamer version of the Hunger Games. It’s got the relentless media hysterics, shady officiating, sanctioned violence and collective religious frenzy that would make Katniss feel right at home.


In light of all that has taken place regarding the fallout from Ray Rice’s domestic violence fiasco, that paragraph now looks like a genuine compliment.

Here’s a brief recap of the story. Back in February, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice punched his then-fiancee (they are now married), Janay Palmer, in an Atlantic City elevator and proceeded to drag her unconscious body out of the elevator. Rice cut a deal to get the charges dismissed upon completion of an intervention program. In July — five months after the incident — NFL commissioner Roger Goodell banned Rice a paltry two games for knocking out a woman. (Meanwhile, the NFL banned Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon an entire year for a failed marijuana drug test.) Then Goodell got raked over the coals in the media for such a pithy punishment, so he reacted by beefing up the league’s policy for dealing with players charged with domestic violence. And two days ago, TMZ released the video of Rice’s attack. Almost immediately, the Ravens cut Rice and the NFL banned him indefinitely.

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